The early-evening view from our hotel room during Star Wars Celebration. That’s the north face of Two Prudential Plaza, with Michigan Avenue lit up and trailing back and to the left. Rather like Coruscant minus flying cars.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife Anne and I attended our second Chicago entertainment convention of 2019, a scant three weeks after the last one. Before and after each day’s festivities we found a few opportunities to see more of the Windy City that we hadn’t checked out on our last several trips. Convention centers may capture our attention for most of our Chicago trips, but if we can sneak in better food and light art for extra credit, so much the better.
This was our first time staying at the Hyatt Regency Chicago up on Wacker Drive in the Loop. That area is usually out of our price range unless we stumble across a sale. This time the Hyatt offered a competitive deal as part of the official Star Wars Celebration block.
A K-9 statue in their lobby.
A different doggie statue in their driveway honors PAWS Chicago, a local pet-rescue organization.
I didn’t catch the specific on this one, but I’m sure that’s a very good doggo.
Not a dog, but one among the many Horses of Honor all around Chicago, saluting police officers killed in the line of duty.
For dinner Thursday night we walked a block southeast to the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago, which is too long a name. Inside the Radission is an Italian restaurant called Filini, whose meny caught our eye among the many nearby options we scrolled through that evening. We were shocked to find ourselves among the very few customers in the house and found every aspect of the experience delightful from start to finish.
The Radisson had their own horse statue out front.
Our appetizer: cauliflower tempura with smoked yogurt, French curry, dates and mint. Served with sides of shaved parmesan, lightly charred bread, and li’l pickled cauliflower.
Anne opted for a simple spaghetti and meatballs, whose sauce includes heirloom grape tomatoes, sliced garlic, and fresh basil. We’re not used to chefs who top main dishes with fresh herbs. We felt spoiled.
A modest dessert of chocolate, vanilla, and raspberry gelato. It’s all we had room for.
Not pictured because the photo was blurry: my dinner of semolina gnocchi with butternut squash puree, ricotta salata, brown butter, vegetables, and more fresh herbs. I could get used to those.
Saturday morning, we walked over to Prudential Plaza, beyond the Nutella Cafe and to the Wildberry Cafe, a Chicagoland breakfast establishment with four locations in the area. Again, no complaints, and we marveled at their light-speed service.
My breakfast of Barbacoa Chilaquiles — beer barbacoa, Chihuahua cheese, scallions, cilantro, sour cream, avocado, salsa, and fried egg on top just like classy Chopped chefs would do it.
Anne settled for a mere banana pecan waffle.We did whatever it took to put off convention center food for as long as possible. Totally worth it.
…and I think we’re finally out of Chicago photos.